Arisekola Alao’s mansion for termites, rodents

Late Arisekola Alao, Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland

Late Arisekola Alao, Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland

In the Name of the Almighty, the Beneficent, the Merciful

“A generous person is close to God, close to Paradise, close to people, and far from Hell. However, a miserly person is far from God, far from Paradise, far from people, but close to Hell. God loves more an ignorant man, who is generous than a worshipper who is miserly.” -Prophet Muhammad.

Brethren, it was on Monday. I had gone to the city centre in pursuit of life and living; I left the ‘sanity’ in the academy for the city centre to deliver the message of the Almighty. Each time I ventured into the city, I am always prepared for the known and the unknown; I usually guide my loins in expectation of good, the bad and the ugly. But I had not gone far enough when I found myself in a traffic hold-up. I looked at my wrist-watch. Time was some minutes after 4 p.m.

There was no escape route. Then I remember that the city is in the festival mood; the Id al-Fitr was a couple of hours away. The roads had become occupied. I mean occupied.

Traffic was simply heavy. It felt as if the whole city was migrating either away from itself or into itself. It felt the whole city had congregated at that particular moment and on that particular road whose cry for reconstruction would probably be heard when the village headmaster gets a third-term in office! Wait a minute. Granting second-term in office to their Excellencies is like giving a man the opportunity to eat the ‘forbidden fruit’ twice.

Excepting for one or two former governors, whenever they find themselves in office for the ‘second time’, these “Excellencies” become authoritative; they become authoritarian. They punish the masses with under-performance and for making the mistake of casting their ballots for them for the second time!

After close to thirty minutes, luck smiled on me. The road suddenly became open to traffic. But it was only for a moment. Soon there was a grid-lock again. But where I now found myself was close to a spot where I could make a detour and escape from what was proving to be a ‘hell’ on the road. Quickly, I sought an escape. The small road that I took led me to that section of the city where the rich constantly cry. It is the suburban; the city within the city. There the rich constantly cry.

There the rich live in barbed-wired encampments; in walled dwellings which remind you of the wall Donald Trump dreams of building between the US and Mexico. In that part of the city, the rich live in mansions whose entrances are reminiscent of gated quarters of the prison yards. There the rich live as if in an asylum; they live completely quartered away from having close contact with the ordinary masses. Soon, I found myself on the road that led directly to the house of the former popular Muslim philanthropist, the former ‘king’ behind the ‘kings’, the former power behind the powerful- late Alhaj Abdul Azeez Arisekola Alao (d. 2013).

Brethren, when Alhaji Arisekola Alao was alive, there were two types of security walls around his then sprawling mansion in the city: the physical and the human. The physical comprised iron and steel. It was made up of concrete and sheet. It consisted of guns and bullets. The human, on the other hand, could be divided into two: the security detail and the ‘insecure’ detail- the pauperized legion of hangers-on featuring professional and unprofessional beggars, loafers, lazy denizens and occupiers of the periphery of life. When he was alive, the visitor would get to know of the presence of Alhaji Arisekola in the mansion not so much by the presence of the security details, but by the convergence of the poor and the needy at the gate to the mansion.

Thus when I passed by the mansion a couple of days ago, it was like a passage through history. Neither the security details nor the insecure ‘details’ were there anymore. The gates were firmly under lock. But I noticed the presence of new occupiers at the entrance to the mansion. From a distance, I noticed gradual take-over of the mansion by its real owner-Time. Weeds had begun to grow on the terraces which used to shine and shone like the lights in the Haram in Makkah.

Then I asked myself: where are the friends of the former strong-man of Yorubaland? Where are those who, unless they came to him, life had neither pleasure nor treasure? Where are those who thought that without him, life was simply impossible? Alhaji’s mansion has now become a haunting space: a space lacking in mistress and master; a mansion with doors that none now open nor closes but the wind. The only dinner that seems to be taking place in the mansion now, from the point of contemplation outside the walls, would probably be that of ants and termites.

Brethren, I thought the best mansion we could and should build after-all, is that which time would not and cannot destroy. It is the mansion of piety and righteousness. Somebody asked: “What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” I ask: of what use is the dwelling that would not guarantee eternal life and eternity? If indeed Alhaji Arisekola had fans and friends while on earth, it should grieve them to discover that his estate is fast becoming a ‘mansion’ for termites and rodents.

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  • absam777

    For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? ( Mark 8:36 (KJV)

    When foundations are not built on a solid rock it will eventually collapse. Do not blame the poor, friends and hang about of the Alhaji. He built his foundation on sand of human praises and adulations.

    • Funmi Ojeks

      It’s so sad that with all the help and deed the aree of musuluni did and only God knows how many children he had…. This could happen to him after his death. All I know was his cousin and he showed love to me indirectly to the fullest. But it is what it is…..I wish his legacy should not die with the likes of children he had. Someone should step up and if now put his estate for sale for people that will appreciate the location and take good care of it. This is a big lesson for all our leaders. Tooshort (USA)

  • omodondo

    Vanity upon vanity, all is vanity.
    This made me to also remember Olusola Saraki who people (Ilorin indigenis ) usually went to his house to eat daily meal. Where us he now. Worms and tarmites would have fed on him till d bone and the only house he had in Ilorin I believe would have bn occupied by bushes too. What if Admirer Villa owned by Lawal. The gangatic ediffice beside Bishop Smith College would have taken over by bushes d real owner of those houses, whereas the millions whose livea would have been better with billions if money stole and use to build those housea are still their trust God for miracle to happen.
    God will definitely judge all, whether we do good or evil. But if truly their is judgement, then it will be better to do good my country men and women…

  • Epoxy

    كل شيء فان عند الله باقي احد الصمد لم يليد ابد

    • ImpactK

      please interprete in English. Thanks.

  • octa

    This shows the terrible state of journalism in this country. How can you tell such lies and deceive the vast majority of people. I was in this house yesterday. There are still hundreds of people in that house. There might be no better outside but its a huge lie to say His estate is fast becoming a mansion for termites and rodents’. What would it have cost you to walk up to the gate and knock before penning this? SMH

    • Sdyn

      Kindly read between the line again sir……the writer said: “The only dinner that seems to be taking place in the mansion now, from the point of contemplation outside the walls, would probably be that of ants and termites.” It is instructive to note the expressions… “that seems” …..”from the point of contemplation outside the walls”. Its a figurative expression sir. So I don’t think the writer is lying…its just literary contemplation of the (possible) inevitable ……

      • octa

        I was deliberate quoting statements I was referring too….he’s trying to make a point we all get….but it means nothing, if based on falsified underlying facts, a result of lazy journalism

  • omoagbala60

    This is a testimony to the essence of our existence,it all boils down to vanity. The house of today becomes dumpsite of tomorrow;the posh cars will end up in the pit of “Owode Onorin”and the owners of the aforementioned estate become dirt or ashes. The problem is becoming uniquely Black, we are the only race still struggling with purpose of our existence; all other races have figured it out. They know that the only meaningful purpose to our existence is to make the world better than we all met it.Black leaders are preoccupied with primordial,materialistic acquisitions as could be seen in the unfolding, monumental theft of public funds by our hare-brained leaders.These stolen funds are deployed in the purchase of exotic real estates around the globe to the detriment of meaningful development at home. As the writer rightly said, these mansions are fast becoming haven for termites,rodents and cockroaches. What else do we expect? Only their good deed stays with us and endures forever.We all came with nothing and shall go to our Maker empty-handed.

  • bsquare

    For it is written vanity upon vanity all is vanity. Nothing we bring to this world nothing we will go with.

  • Deji Fadina

    Good article that reminds us all that, at the end of the day, we are only as rich as our poorest neighbor.
    I like the section : ““What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
    That was cool.